The colourful Norwegian city of Bergen is known as the “Gateway to the Fjords”, and for good reason. For many it’s a quick stop on a Norwegian Fjords cruise but the city has plenty to offer and merits a longer visit. Packed with history and tradition, Bergen is a city with small-town charm and atmosphere.
Bergen grew up around its colourful harbour – Bryggen – which was the hub of commerce, seafaring and craftsmanship. It became Norway’s first capital city and the seat of royalty. The city became a melting-pot of cultures and Norway’s most international city. Bryggen is now listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.
Bergen is surrounded by one of the world’s most spectacular tourist attractions – The Norwegian Fjords. On any short break in Bergen it’s worth spending a day taking a Norway in a Nutshell ® tour. This full day excursion takes in some spectacular scenery as you travel by rail, fjord steamer and bus. Starting by train you climb on the Oslo railway as far as the remote junction of Myrdal. Transfer to the world famous Flam Railway for a vertiginous descent on some of the steepest standard gauge rails in the world to reach the fjord side at Flam.. There’s time there for lunch before joining the steamer for a cruise through the unbelievable scenery of Naeroyfjord to Gudvangen where a coach waits to return you by spectacular roads to Voss and the train back to Bergen.
This year it might be worth trying to time a visit to Bergen to coincide with Bergenfest which takes place from 11th to 15th June. Bergenfest is a celebration of music and offers a variety of styles ranging from authentic American blues, related music such as R&B to cajun/zydeco and rock/country-influenced concerts. Folk music from other parts of the world is also on offer in a number of venues throughout the city.
Another event taking place in Bergen this summer is the Tall Ships Race, which promises to be as spectacular as ever. Between July 24th and 27th almost 100 of the biggest and most beautiful sailing ships in the world will gather in the harbour, Vågen, with more than 3,000 crew members from more than 30 nations and over 500,000 visitors. Events surrounding the 2014 Tall Ships Races will be this year’s biggest cultural event in the Bergen region. It is part of the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Norway’s Constitution and the 100th anniversary of the sailing ship, SS Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Maritime traditions combined with modern music and culture will be emphasized in the varied cultural program. The city of Bergen is hoping for a city teeming with life, crew parades, free music and entertainment at several venues, fireworks and the chance to go on board some of the world’s most beautiful sailing ships.
Bergen is certainly a city to visit in 2014!